Projects, Unpaid Internships

The Internship Grind: Intern Nation

This episode sees Clement interviewing Ross Perlin, author of Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy. 

This definitely looks worth checking out. Perlin asks:

How have internships become almost as important as a college degree? Why are prestigious internships routinely being auctioned off for thousands of dollars?
Why does Disney World in Orlando employ up to 8,000 interns through its College Program every year?

Good questions. Especially for those us looking to go into an industry that more or less requires unpaid internships as a right of passage this way in seems like an inevitable fact of life. But you know what? It’s pretty new.

Remember, if you want to keep The Internship Grind going, please contribute to my crowdfunding campaign by donating or sharing it with your social networks. You can see what it’s all about over at igg.me/at/vUrRUldFoEA

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Experiences, Projects, Unpaid Internships

The Internship Grind: Better Know An Intern Pt. 2

In this Better Know An Intern episode Clement speaks to Anke Van de Velde about her internship experience, wanting to go to space, Criminal Minds, and human rights.

For past episodes, the blog, and more info visit theinternshipgrind.com/

// Are you currently a UN intern and want something a little bit better than the WhatsApp chat or the Facebook group to get all the internship information you need to know? Sign up for the new UN Interns Association at unia.ga/

As always, help support the Internship Grind by contributing to Clement’s Generosity crowdfunding campaign:igg.me/at/vUrRUldFoEA

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Experiences, Projects, Unpaid Internships

The Internship Grind: Better Know An Intern Pt. 1

Clement is, if nothing else, a generous guy.

Rather than bang on and on about himself, he’s decided to let some of his peers have their say. (A bit like how this website is a platform for development interns, not just a way of stroking my ego).

I’m trying something a little bit new for the podcast. I’m kind of over sharing my own internship experience so I’m going to start doing this thing where I sit down and chat with other interns about their own internship experiences. This is the first in a series of “Better Know an Intern” episodes.

As always, help support the Internship Grind by contributing to my Generosity crowdfunding campaign:igg.me/at/vUrRUldFoEA

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Experiences, Projects, Unpaid Internships

The Internship Grind: Tennis Court Oath

On June 23, 2016, the UN Interns Association was launched as a way to bring unpaid UN interns in New York City together to institutionalize a community.

I speak with UN interns Bolu Oyewale and Anke Van de Welde about what UNIA is all about and to other interns about why they think we need a UN Interns Association. I also spoke to Jolan Remcsak, another UN intern at the centre of organizing this organization, about the UNIA Executive, what it’s for, and how choosing the leadership for this executive will take place.

If you would like to run to become a part of the executive, please register at uninternsassociation.ga/ and tell interns more about yourself and why you want to get involved.

As always, help support the Internship Grind by contributing to my Generosity crowdfunding campaign:igg.me/at/vUrRUldFoEA

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Experiences, Projects, Unpaid Internships

The Internship Grind: The Intern Social Scene

Ah, now we get to probably the best bit about interning. Cutting loose.

I am possibly biased because I spent most of my intern days in Kampala when it was still very cheap. The parties were often and epic. And I swear I could handle hangovers a hell of a lot better back then (although my old supervisors would probably beg to differ). The relentless marching of time eh?

Clement has some big questions this week:

Where do interns meet? How do you find out about what’s going on within the intern community? Who is Calico Jack? All this will be answered on this alcohol-fueled episode of The Internship Grind.

As always, help support the Internship Grind by contributing to Clement’s Generosity crowdfunding campaign:igg.me/at/vUrRUldFoEA

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Advice, Learning

Getting To Grips With Your Social Media Self

Of late, I have been on a Twitter ‘sabbatical’.

This sabbatical was not the product of a conscious, thought-out decision in which I actively decided to remove myself for complex reasons of social network activism or in an attempt to reconnect with the ‘good old un-connected days’. Rather, it happened slowly and without me realising, until one day, I logged on to Twitter and realised that I hadn’t engaged with the network for over six months – my account was just sitting there, quietly waiting for me to come back, asking me what I wanted to Tweet about next?

It would seem that my Twitter sabbatical coincided with a period of time in my life in which my goals and career focus were in a state of flux.

A year ago, my Twitter ‘space’ had a clear identity.

I was actively engaging with a relatively defined community of people (those working in or interested in the cross-section between Africa, information, technology, media, development, human rights) and most of my followers were (or still are) from that community. The rest all probably have something to do with coffee, the other passion which made it regularly into my Twitter feed. My network, by and large, was relatively ‘bounded’.

In my days working in the newspaper industry and studying at SOAS and the University of Oxford, I used Twitter as a professional and career development resource. I have blogged before, on this very page, about how I used Twitter as my ‘rolling online CV’. I Tweeted my own ideas, I engaged, I re-tweeted, I live-Tweeted at events and conferences, I hashtagged, I plugged blogs I had written, I got jobs through Twitter, and I came across endless accounts of people and organisations whose work I still follow and admire. Essentially, I became an expert in how to curate a useful, successful online community network – and I gave you guys nine tips so that you could do the same!

It seems strange to re-read that ‘nine tips’ blog now, in the context of now writing this one. At that time, I wrote: “Watch what you Tweet – If you imagine your Twitter page as a rolling online CV, you automatically become more aware of what you allow on to your feed” (this statement remains true, by the way).

Because the thing is, that in order for Twitter to serve this purpose for you – for it to be used as a way of tapping into a specific community (whether that be #globaldev or otherwise) – you have to have a very clear idea of who and what that community is, and what your role is and could be within that community. By knowing those things, you can ‘curate’ your Twitter feed to cater to that particular audience.

Every Tweet becomes a clearly-made choice and every interaction is treated as a key step in building new professional relationships. You become a hyper-aware manager of your online presence. You constantly criticise, and critically analyse, whether your online Twitter ‘self’ is an accurate reflection of your offline non-Twitter self, and if it could be improved. For those of us on ‘the bottom rungs of the ladder’, those choices carry that little bit more weight.

But what happens when that network needs some re-shaping? If you move to a slightly different ladder? What happens to your carefully-defined Twitter then?

The totally brilliant Danah Boyd writes extensively about the ways in which we manage identity in different contexts (online and offline) and coming across her work while studying for my Masters at the Oxford Internet Institute was one of the many revelations of my postgraduate degree. My main takeaway from her extensive work is that the Internet has confused and disorientated the ways in which we have historically, or traditionally, always managed our identities. We haven’t ever had just ‘one’ identity; we are a complex set of identities, which we have always been able to manage and curate between different contexts relatively easily.

Back in the day, would we have let our friends, grandparents, employers and ex-boyfriends all see the same set of holiday pictures? Would we have included on our CV a short section titled ‘Political Views and My Attitudes Towards Gender, Race and Religion’? Probably not. We would have navigated our way between these different contexts and presented the aspects of our identities, of our lives, that were appropriate to each of those contexts.

Life on the Internet completely throws those contexts into disarray. Boyd describes these contexts as becoming ‘collapsed’ – i.e. that those contexts are no longer as easily defined or ‘bounded’ and are therefore harder to navigate.

Do I accept this work colleague on Facebook? If I tweet about this salted caramel brownie, will this very impressive and important consultant unfollow me on Twitter? If I share this article on the EU Referendum, will I have a bunch of random people I worked with five summers ago and haven’t spoken to since all start to judge me for my political views?

Maybe not everybody asks themselves these questions, but I do.

There are two points to this blog, really. One was selfish – to force myself to write some of this experience down; to put academic ideas of ‘collapsed contexts’ and ‘online identities’ into actual practice and everyday experience; and to explain to anybody who wants to read this why I disappeared off the map for a while.

The second is to add a final, tenth ‘tip’ to that blog I wrote three years ago:

10. Don’t let your Twitter, or any social network, define you. Twitter and social media are great resources for putting ‘who you are’ onto the professional map, but if that ‘who you are’ changes – don’t panic. Human beings are dynamic, not static, and so too should be our social networks.

For the record, I do now intend to be back, re-defining and re-curating my Twitter space. Maybe some people will drop off that network, hopefully new people will join. I think that’s kind of the whole point.

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Experiences, Projects, Unpaid Internships

The Internship Grind: The Intern Food Review

If you don’t get paid, work all the time and you live in an incredibly expensive city how are you supposed to eat?

Clement Nocos takes us through his routine. He spends 12 hours a day out of the house and eats out in New York while he does his UN internship. He has something like $8 a day to do this. How?

Clement has some good tips so listen to him, especially if you’re in New York.

This episode gave me flashbacks to spending my last 5000 Ugandan Shillings on an order of chips-chaps at Chicken Tonight. My card had been blocked and nobody was paying me, cash or otherwise, but I splurged it all in one go anyway. It was a surprisingly liberating evening and, thankfully, Natwest sorted out my card the next day. At other times I also relied on the largesse of friends – Kampala crew, you know who you are – to keep me fed.

As for my two cents, I would advise staying at home a bit more and cooking a whole lot. Learn to cook big batch pasta sauces/stews using cheap cuts of meat, roast whole chickens and keep using the meat throughout the week, make rice/noodle and veggie stir frys like Mee Goreng. This saves A LOT of money (and impresses dates).

Cook up several portions worth on weekends and portion it out throughout the week. Also, figure out a way to cook whatever ingredients are very cheap where you are. When I was living in Nairobi last year I learned how to make a delicious Szechuan green bean dish because I could buy a kilo of the things for next to nothing. Googling recipes is pretty damn cheap.

As ever, please support Clement and/or check out his other podcasts.

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